SQL Server On Linux

It was in 2016 that the SQL Server after being limited to the Windows platform for more than two decades was finally made available on Linux. It gave Microsoft a leading stance in the world of Big Data and proved advantageous to many enterprises. In this blog, we discuss SQL Server on Linux, highlighting various types of SQL commands, advantages, and challenges that come with using SQL Server on Linux. Additionally, we give steps for installing SQL Server on Linux. 

Table of Contents
1. What is SQL Server?
2. Why SQL Server on Linux?
3. Types of SQL Commands on SQL Server
4. Advantages of Running SQL Server on Linux
5. Challenges of Running SQL Server on Linux
6. How to Install SQL Server on Linux?
7. Conclusion

What is SQL Server?

SQL Server is a relational database management system developed by Microsoft. It is built on SQL, a programming language for interacting with relational databases, which can be mastered through a comprehensive SQL certification course

SQL Server has two major components – Database engine and SQLOS. Database engine consists of a relational engine used for processing queries and a storage engine responsible for storing files, pages, and indexes of the database. SQLOS or SQL Server Operating System is responsible for providing services such as memory and input/output management. 

Why SQL Server on Linux?

Microsoft extended the compatibility of SQL Server on Linux a couple of years back. This move came due to a major reason. The developers and enterprises preferred Linux for cloud space instead of Windows. They saved on their licensing fees and operational time with Linux operating software. Additionally, Linux was more strategic, flexible, and customizable than the Windows-only SQL Server for business operations. Microsoft leveraged this opinion to its advantage and made SQL server available on Linux. It allowed Microsoft to expand its influence in the Big Data world. 

Types of SQL Commands on SQL Server

SQL commands are the instructions used to interact with the database. There are five types of SQL commands. These include: 

  • DDL or Data Definition Language commands 
  • DML or Data Manipulation Language commands 
  • DCL or Data Control Language commands
  • TCL or Transaction Control Language commands 
  • DQL or Data Query Language commands


Advantages of Running SQL Server on Linux

The following are the advantages of running the SQL Server on Linux. 

  • SQL Server on Linux is fast and easy to install since it supports command-line installation.
  • The platform comes with prior integration with other open-source platforms. 
  • There is better control over security due to integration with Microsoft Active Directory. It has centralized database user identities and a simplified permission manager.
  • With SQL Server Management Studio, there is no need for additional software licenses for different operating systems. It has brought down costs significantly.
  • Data migration from Windows SQL Server to Linux is simple. 
  • Features such as data compression, partitioning, column storing, etc., help organizations build efficient data-driven applications for their customers.
  • Supported Docker containers allow SQL Server to be deployed quickly. 
  • Since SQL Server uses similar T-SQL scripts, it becomes easier for Windows users to get familiar with the Linux mechanism.
  • SQL Server can set up external tables from Hadoop, Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc., and is capable of acting as a data virtualization hub.
  • Platform Abstraction Layer introduced by Microsoft provides seamless compatibility of databases into the Linux environment.

Challenges of Running SQL Server on Linux

Some of the challenges faced while running SQL Server on Linux are as follows.

  • We cannot install SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) on Linux. 
  • SQL Server Management Studio can be used for Linux but has to be on the Microsoft Windows platform.
  • SQL Server on Linux currently supports limited file systems only. 
  • There are some security limitations in SQL Server on Linux too. You cannot disable SQL Server authentication or use keys stored in Azure Key Vault. Also, it does not support Extensible Key Management. 

How to Install SQL Server on Linux?

The following are the steps for installation of SQL Server on Linux (Ubuntu). 

  1. Firstly, check the system requirements. The system should have 2GB memory, XFS or EXT4 file systems, 6GB disk space, 2GHz processor speed, and x64-compatible processor types. 
  2. Import the public repository GPG keys.
wget -qO- | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/microsoft.asc

3. Register the SQL Server Ubuntu repository.

sudo add-apt-repository “$(wget -qO-”

4. Then, run the following commands to install SQL Server.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install -y mssql-server

5. After the installation, run the mssql-conf setup. Follow the prompts to set a password and choose the desired edition. 

sudo /opt/mssql/bin/mssql-conf setup

6. Verify if the service is running once the configuration is done. 

systemctl status mssql-server –no-pager

Now, your SQL Server is running and is ready to use. You can further add SQL Server command-line tools to start creating databases. 


Predominantly associated with Windows, the expansion of SQL Server on Linux has led to greater efficiency in the management of relational databases. Though some challenges still persist, SQL Server has been welcomed on Linux by both developers and businesses. They have leveraged the advantages of SQL, such as cost optimization, quick deployment, and enterprise-related features among others for enhanced results. The ease of installation of SQL Server only makes it a more preferable option than others. 

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